Recognizing Gaslighting: 7 Key Warning Signs to Watch Out For - The Meeting Matters

Recognizing Gaslighting: 7 Key Warning Signs to Watch Out For - The Meeting Matters

April 24, 2024by Beenish0

Gaslighting is a subtle but harmful form of emotional abuse in which a person is manipulated into questioning facts, memories, or assumptions. The term comes from the 1938 play Gas Light in which a husband tries to make his wife question her sanity by changing her surroundings and refusing to change. At the end of the film, she is committed to a mental hospital and her husband steals her property. 

Gaslighting is a learned behaviour that stems from an unhealthy sense of control over others. When the victim accepts the projected reality of the gaslighter and incorporates it into their lives, they often develop mental health issues related to anxiety, stress, or low self-esteem

7 Warning Signs of Gaslighting 

A gaslighter can be anybody you know, like a coworker, boss, spouse, friend, or family member. For identifying whether the person is a victim of gaslighting or not and seeking help if needed, it is important to know the warning signs of gaslighting. Here’s what you need to know for recognizing gaslighting red flags and taking measures to keep your mental health safe.

  • Denial and contradiction: Gaslighters tend to reject or deny facts, events, or information that you know is true. This constant inconsistency makes you wonder about your memories and perspectives.  
  • Distortion of Reality: Gaslighters turn or alter information in a bid to distort your perception of reality. Certain facts may be also ignored to confuse you and therefore undermine your credibility.
  • Shifting Blame: A gaslighter always projects his or her faults on you and blame for their mistakes on your shoulders. It is this tactic that distracts your attention from their actions and makes you think if it is you who has to feel guilty.
  • Isolation and control: A gaslighter can create an emotional distance between you and your existing social circles, which may include your friends and family. This increases your dependence on them and limits the possibility of external sources validating your experiences.
  • Reduce and eliminate: The gaslighters try to make you believe that you are overreacting or paying attention to insignificant details by telling you that you are too emotional or too sensitive. Such cynicism might cause you to question your emotional reactions.
  • Unpredictable Behavior: Gaslighters can be unpredictable with their behaviour and words, which can cause confusion and distrust. This inconsistent attitude makes it very hard for you to navigate the relationship.
  • Using flattery: Gaslighters could be using compliments, presents, or acts of love to exploit you. Such treatment makes you to trust and rely on them more.

How to protect yourself from being gaslighted?

  • Listen to your instincts: Follow your instincts and gut feelings. If you have any confusion, always try to understand the situation and request more information.
  • Event log: Note down all the events, conversations, and feelings. This log enables you to keep perspective and you can show the other person how the details have changed.
  • Ask for help: Share your experiences with close friends, family members, or a trusted mental health professional. You can also ask for validation and sympathy.
  • Set boundaries: Make sure you have clear personal boundaries and set your boundaries with the person or group who tries to gaslight you as well.
  • Educate yourself: Expand your knowledge on gaslighting and its implications. By doing so, you acknowledge it and also learn how to deal with emotional abuse.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you suspect that you may be a victim of gaslighting, it would be of great help to see a licensed therapist or counsellor. They help you get professional guidance and skills to cope with the problem.
  • Find resources: Think about getting assistance from organizations such as The Meeting Matters. We offer resources and guidance for people with gaslighting experience or any other emotional abuse. We provide counselling, therapy and training aiming at providing people and groups with control over their own reality. 

By realizing when someone is victimizing you and using their gaslighting tactics, you can start working on protecting your mental health. Revert the situation and get back in control of your reality. You are not alone, several help resources are available. You can go seek help and make positive changes in your life.


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